Friday, October 31, 2008

Anak si Zuma

Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale's new bundle of joy is called Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale.

I highly doubt that the Rossdales know that Zuma is the name of a famous Filipino comic book character.

I can't wait for baby Zuma to grow up and have a kid of his own so that Filipinos can call him/her "Anak ni Zuma."


It's like coming across one of Janice de Belen's kids (who are all sweet and charming, by the way) and exclaiming "Oh my god, anak ni Janice!" (which I'm sure they got a lot of).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A talk on horror in Bilibid

I was invited to join Rock Ed in Bilibid Prison, where I gave a talk on horror fiction. I wrote about the experience in my GMA Column. Here's an exerpt:

You hear all sorts of things about folks in prison. It doesn't help that movies paint prison as being a dark, soulless place where people are kept behind bars and given scarps of food to eat.

The security inside Bilibid is unbelievably tight (and rightly so). No cellphones or cameras allowed. We had to empty out the contents of our bags, surrender an ID and get frisked. The guys had to get stamped as proof that they don't belong inside. After all that, we were finally in.

The inside of Bilibid is like a little barangay. There is a hospital, a basketball court, a canteen, numerous sari-sari stores. People walk around, some in their orange uniforms, others in casual attire. It looked like you were in a men-only commune and not one of the biggest prisons in the country. People called out to Gang as she passed, all of which she greeted with a cheerful 'hello' back. We could see groups of prisoners walking around -- probably gang leaders and their 'bodyguards.' We passed some joggers who waved happily at us. The tiny road was smooth and well-paved, a far cry from some of the streets you see in Metro Manila.

Read the whole thing here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I hope you caught rakista this week because you're missing a lot

I sure hope you've been parked in front of your TV this Thursday at 7pm with the channel turned to TV5 because if you haven't, you just missed another great episode of Rakista, probably the only program on Philippine TV today where you can get art zombies, cosplaying ninjas and feral, turon-hungry table tennis fanatics, oh, and music.

If you're into the rock scene, you would have caught guest appearances by rock stars such as Raimund Marasigan of Sandwich and Pedicab in the episode where the Rakista gang storms the Eraserheads concert (yes, the real Eraserheads concert). You wouls have also seen Greyhoundz' Reg Rubio cameo as a doctor, his second career after Nyoy Volante (who also cameoed as an attempted murder suspect) and the rest of acoustic music killed kupaw (by the way, the new Greyhoundz album rocks). And if you saw ths week's episode, you would have heard the Dawn's Francis Reyes (also NU 107's Francis Brew) on the radio (in the show). You would have also seen all of Spongecola getting whipped, eating from Jenny Jamora's hand, performing onstage, you know, doing normal stuff.

If you haven't seen this week's episode, it's not too late to catch the replay on Sunday at 1pm on TV5.

Here are more reasons to watch this week's episode:

1. A real-live corgi.

2. Dog fight! Ok, not really. It's actually a cat-fight between two kontrabida dog owners, complete with 1980's Filipino movie name-calling. Rowr!

3. The most swearing I've ever heard in a local TV program.

4. Sven. And some RJ. So cute! My most favorite love team ever!

5. Another full on stage performance from The Love Team.

6. A shadow of complications to come. Hint: it involves cutie pie Nix.

7. For Spongecola fans, a full song by your favorite band!

8. For Spongecola haters: Yael getting whipped, then pushed off a table. Oh wait, fans will probably like this more...

Whatever rocks your boat, be sure to catch Rakista's replay this Sunday at 1pm on TV5.

Cannibal turns into restaurateur

So I was surfing the celebrity gossip blogs when I found this on Perez Hilton.

You cannot make this sort of thing up.

Actualy, yes you can, but it would be very hard to pull it off in a story. Again, I shake my head in awe at how truth -- everybody say it with me -- is stranger than fiction.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

The mirror has been a source of mystery for as long as humans have been alive. More than just a surface from which you can check your hair from, the mirror has traditionally been associated with sorcery and magic.

From Snow White's evil stepmother to China Mieville's The Tain, the mirror has been used as a vehicle for things not good, its reflective surface, once benign, now used for human destruction.

It's not surprising that stories and urban legends have grown around mirrors as well. Some of the more popular ones include child murderer Bloody Mary (say her name five times in front of a mirror); The Candyman, the movie based on Clive Barker's short story The Forbidden (say his name three times), and on a local note, Nick Joaquin's May Day Eve, where chanting "Mirror, mirror, show to me him whose woman I will be," will either show you the person you are to marry or the devil himself.

May Day Eve may not be a horror story (not in the traditional sense, anyway), but it does make use of something that everyone can relate to: an element of fear.

Eleven days to go til Halloween, people. Trick or treat!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rakista Fans: Listen to The Loveteam's First Song

Hey, hey, hey Rakista fans!

We all know how you can't get enough of Caloy, Ted, Nix, Bebe and Sven. But even if you can't watch the show 24/7, you can at least listen to the The Love Team's forst song whenever you want here.

Thanks for putting it up, Mads!

Dead Celebrity Soulmate

Find out which celebrity would have been the one for you in the Dead Celebrity Soulmate Search... had he or she not went to the grave first. Oh well, you can always get together in the afterlife.

Trawling the Web for Haunted Houses

With Halloween drawing near, it's not hard to find oneself in the mood for spook.

A link to HowStuffWork's Top 5 Real-Life Haunted Houses sent me trawling the interwebs for haunting-related stories.

This post got me interested in Annie Palmer, also known as The White Witch of Rose Hall. She was the wife of a plantation landowner whose history included voodoo, torture, multiple murder and adultery. She lived in Rose Hall, a famous haunted house (tours available!) in Jamaca, and whose land now stands a Hilton resort. Annie's story is the stuff that horror novels are made of. Goes to show hat the truth is stranger than fiction.

HowStuffWorks apparently has some stuff related to the supernatural, such as its Top 5 Hotels that will Scare the Daylights ot of You. Now I know where *not* to stay. Apparently, it also offers more 'scinetifically-based' list articles such as What Makes Graveyards Scary? How Body Farms Work (as seen in CSI) and How Ghost Busters Work.

All great stuff for mining stories.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

North Luzon Food Trip Part 2 on My GMA Column

Part two of my Appetite and Carnation Family Food Trip. Because one day of eating is not enough.

I finally posted the second part of my and Luis adventures as part of the Appetite and Carnation Family Food Trip delegation.

The short version: all we did was eat and eat, then eat again. For the long version, click here.

Reasons to Watch Rakista's Replay at 1pm this Sunday

Missed Rakista last Thursday, October 16? Or simply can't get enough of life in the University (which bears no resemblance to Ateneo, UP or UST at all, nosiree)? Whatever your reason, you have to tune in to the replay this Sunday, October 19 at 1pm on TV5 (That's channel 5 in lay speak) for an episode filled with music, laughter, and Sven.

Highlights include:

1. Sonny, golden boy, student body president and captain of the men's swim team making moonie moonie in the locker area. In trunks. Hello, ladies!

2. Women's swom team captain Sadie Lopez being pushed into the pool by Coach Pontri.

3. A special appearance by everyone's favorite sidekick, Alvarez!

4. An almost-murder mystery, with Sven and super cute RJ hot on the case!

5. A Sven and RJ MOMOL (make out make out lang) scene. About two minutes long. With tongue. Not to be missed!

6. Special guest appearance by the Greyhoundz' Reg Rubio. Find out what happened to him after kupaw music got killed by acoustic!

7. Special guest appearance by Nyoy Volante! This is funnier than it sounds.

8. Ninjas! Well, one ninja. Plus a ninja training montage. No series is complete without one.

9. Feral turon-hungry table tennis team players on the prowl!

10. Sonny lets slip a clue to next week's musical guests. Clue: They're a band. All right, all right. Bigger clue: They're a pretty popular band. If you want to know who they are, you'll have to watch next week's episode!

Meanwhile, hide the remote and save a seat in front of the TV this Sunday at 1pm, for the series that puts the rock and roll in Rock and Roll (that sounded better in my head. Oh well).

This is not my episode, by the way. If you're wondering why I've only started posting about Rakista now, the shameful truth is that it's only now that I've got good internet connection. Somebody put out a torrents already so I can link to them and make up for my past non posts!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

PGS Horror Edition Coming Soon!

Kenneth Yu, mild-mannered publisher of The Digest of Philippine Genre Stories has posted a Coming Soon announcement for the horror edition of PGS.

Excited na me, excited na you?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Writer's Block

I haven't been able to write fiction lately. At first, I thought that if I got all my work out of the way, then I'd be able to concentrate on my stories. Unfortunately, being a freelancer means that I'm continuously working. Not that it's a bad thing. I count myself blessed to be overworked. In fact, I don't think I'm overworked yet, so if anyone has any writing rakets out there, do let me know!

No writer wants to admit to having writer's block. Some will even go so far as to say it's a figment of one's imagination, a monster invented by writers too lazy to practice their craft. Normally, that is the school of thought I subscribe to. Unfortunately, I've learned firsthand that this is not always the case.

The last story I wrote would have to be "Seek Ye Whore," which was published in Rogue Magazine's Anniversary issue last July 2008. Before that, I had just finished "Her Room was Her Temple," the original story the mag was going to print, before I sent Erwin Romulo the unfinished "Seek Ye Whore" and he demanded I finish it in two days to make the deadline for the mag. Before that, "Seek Ye Whore" had been languishing in my hard drive for a couple of years simply because I didn't know how to end it. I guess the adrenalin of having to finish something fast helped. I stayed up two nights writing it while juggling being EIC of the now defunct Metro Post and writing for Project Runway Philippines. "The Bridge," another of my stories, also took years to write. It was in my head for at least 10 years before I was finally able to put it doen on paper.

I admire writers who can churn out a story a month. I would love to be able to do that. Unfortunately, I can't put finger to keyboard unless the words come, and sometimes, it takes years before they do.

More Shameless Self Promotion October 2008

I forgot to mention:

October 2008

This is my first time writing for the magazine. I've always wanted to write about food (my biggest hobby is eating) and now I have!

Check out my coverage of the Appetite Anniversary Party at designer Puey Quinones' Makati pad.

Shameless Self-Promotion October 2008

October 2008

I wrote a feature on Sarah Geronimo for the cover story, as well as some of the profiles for the Creative It List.

Preview is my absolute favorite fashion magazine (and that's for both foreign and local brands, folks!) so it's a real honor to finally be able to write for it.

October 2008

I did book, movie and music reviews for this issue. The theme: youth.

Story Philippines
October 2008

I'm not sure if the issue is out yet but my story "The Bridge" is in it. It's about a psychic girl and is set in Leyte in 1973. Why so specific a date? You'l have to read it to find out!

Philippines Free Press
Sometime soon

I don't have the exact date for this but my story "Her Room was Her Temple" will be coming out in the Free Press "sometime soon," according to Literary Editor Sarge Lacuesta. "Her Room" is about a family guy who discovers his dark side in the mean streets of Makati. This will be my first horror story for the said publication.

Digest of Philippine Genre Stories
October 2008

I'm editing a special Halloween issue of Philippine Genre Stories. I'm pretty proud of the story selection, which I hope will make readers redefine their notion of what horror is. I made it a point to read the submissions without knowing who wrote them (fortunately, I'm very forgetful) and I based everything on whether I felt it was for the publication or not.

We were very hapy to have Nelz Yumul of WeWillDoodle do the cover, which is an unnerving combination of bright and scary. Like the stories inside, I hope that just the cover will make you rethink what horror is.

I would like to thank Kenneth Yu, PGS Publisher, for being patient with me throughout the whole process. I would also like to thank Elbert Or and his superb art dictating -- I mean, directing. :)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Rakista on PEP!

Here's an article on Rakista that appeared on the Philippine Entertainment Portal. Yeah, baby!

Here's an exerpt. Click on the link above to read the whole thing.

The title is as straightforward as it gets. But TV5's newest hit series Rakista offers more than just rock music and young people trying to live up their dreams of making it big in the clich├ęd world of rock n' roll.

"Although the title speaks for itself na Rakista nga it's not really just about a rock band but a way of life na when you say r-a-k-e-n-r-o-l, na Filipino term for rock n' roll, term siya ng mga kabataan ngayon na parang let's just do our thing," explained director Wincy Ong, who is portraying the role of a drummer named Sven.

Rakista, he added, encourages young people to live outside the box and to take chances. "Take it as it comes," smiled Wincy.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Cirio Santiago, RIP

I've been so busy lately that it wasn't until today that I heard about Cirio Santiago's passing last September 26.

Kind of sad that his claim to fame now is being one of Quentin Tarantino's idols, especially since he's done a lot for cinema on a worldwide basis. Funny how one of the proponents of blacksploitation wasn't black...

I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Cirio a few months ago for a piece in Rogue magazine. He was funny, witty, and full of good advice, especially in business. He was first and foremost a businessman. Directing was something he did for fun. I remember he gave me sound business advice, as well as a short history on the American occupation, having lived through it himself.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Santiago.

Rakista on Ricky Lo's Funfare

Ricky Lo mentioned Rakista in today's installation of his Funfare column in the Philippine Star. Here's an exerpt:

Rakista is about the misadventures of a newly-formed rock band called The Love Team composed of college students (played by Carlo Aquino, Charles Christianson, Alchris Galura, Rhea Nakpil and Wincy Ong) and formed during an Eraserheads tribute night.

Yes, you guessed it: Quark and Madz are E-Heads fans.

“We included shots that we took during the E-Heads reunion concert at The Fort,” said Quark. “E-Heads drummer Raimund Marasigan even did an acting role in Rakista.”

Now on leave from movie-making (his last was Regal Films’ Super Noypi released two years ago), Quark said that Rakista was actually inspired by his movie-in-the-making, Reality Films’ Rake ‘n’ Roll ((which stars Jason Abalos, Diether Ocampo, Glaiza de Castro, Alwyn Uytingco and Ketsup Eusebio).

“While I was shooting the movie, Chris (Sy, now head of TV5) approached me and broached the idea of doing a TV show of the same genre,”
said Quark “And that was how it came to be. I still have two shooting days for Rake ‘n’ Roll and I will resume work on it once Rakista’s one-season run is over.”

Besides Rakista and his Blow-Up Babies studio, Quark is busy with his once-a-week teaching job (topic is short films) at Ateneo.

“Three of the writer-directors of Rakista are my students,” said Quark. They are King Palisoc, Zig Marasigan and Wincy Ong. The others are Mihk Vergara, Edsel Abesames and RA Rivera. The writers include Palanca-winner Yvette Tan and STAR columnist Erwin Romulo. Mikey Amistoso of Ciudad and Diego Mapa of Cambio are in-charge of the original music. Poet Lourd de Veyra (vocalist of Radioactive Sago Project) does a narration in every Rakista episode.

Read the whole thing here.

I realize that I haven't been writing about my TV work lately, which is a shame since they're pretty interesting. I especially love my work in Rakista. The people are great, the storyline is awesome (you won't find any of what we come out with on local TV, I can tell you that) and Iweve managed to put stuff in our scripts that we wouldn't be able to get away with in other shows -- to extremely comedic effect.

Tomorrow is our Eraserheads episode, where the Rakista gang try their luck at getting into the Eheads concert. Yes, the actual concert. It's a fun episode, so I hope you all tune in.

Rakista airs every Thursday at 7 pm with replays every Sunday at 1 pm on TV 5.